by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
I had a great discussion (via the Zoom conferencing app) with friends recently that encouraged me. They reminded me that if I want to change my environment, I must first change my heart.
This year has challenged the best of us; pandemic restrictions and their toll on wellness, our nation’s clear divisiveness, and the economic and physical suffering for our entire planet have brought the reality of our shared troubles in this world front and center.
My discussion with friends illuminated my need for pausing to uncover what this situation is teaching me and how it can serve me to change something in my life, my perspective, and my actions. Taking responsibility is a strong catalyst for making things go more smoothly and improving or finding meaning in a problem.
We shared how our daily rhythm with self-care and personal growth efforts help us see solutions more readily when facing turmoil.
Our world mirrors us. It’s sending a clear signal we need more effort toward growing ourselves, overcoming our negative impulses, and taking care of our mind, body, and spirit. Taking care of ourselves allows us to be better for those we care about and build peaceful, prosperous communities.
A GOOD ENDING LEADS TO A GOOD START
How we end things this year will lead to what kind of start we’ll have in the new year. We cannot avoid the sufferings of our world. Burying our hearts and trying to ignore or deny the fierceness of our collective challenges creates nothing.
But we can make the causes for future victory and look forward to the new season of spring by facing ourselves and our challenges with courage and compassion. Doing this with perseverance brings hope into our hearts.
BEGIN WITH A SMALL SHIFT
It can happen with a seemingly small, insignificant shift in our hearts.
Facing relationship issues or communication problems?
Redirecting my heart toward finding an outcome best for everyone—can help move the dialogue in a more positive direction. When we strive to put aside our ego and our feelings for the greater good, a miracle happens: we create a bridge!
LOOK FOR A NEW WAY
In this weird holiday season when many of us are unable to hug our loved ones, especially heart-wrenching for our elders, those grieving a loss, and those struck with Covid-19, we’re given a beautiful opportunity to find the value and potential in this situation.
Creative solutions arise from limitations and even problems. Humans are innately creative. This skill or process is not reserved exclusively for artists. We each have the power within us to look outside the box to find a new way or a new perspective for this unique moment in history. This practice of gratitude lifts the heavy heart and brings its own reward.
When we can’t see eye to eye with someone, for example, we have the chance to look for the best in that person as valuable and good, instead of equating the worth of that person with their behavior in the moment or argument.
Difficulties—again—are mirroring exactly that we need to change something in our lives for the better. And to use them as a springboard with that intent.
REMEMBER THE KEY TO VICTORY
The point is that you and I can transform anything. Don’t get discouraged by this year’s depth of problems for us and the rest of the world. Instead, remember that how we face each moment right now becomes the cause for the seeds of our bright future.
Remember that the key to any struggle is perseverance. Let’s look to the new year of 2021 by first taking care of our spiritual wellness. Then, let’s set new goals and move forward toward our new victory.
Transforming our hearts first will lead us to improve ourselves, the situation, and encourage those around us to find hope. Our ability to win over our struggles becomes our mission for empowering others to do the same.
During this pandemic holiday season, I will be taking care of myself including mind, body, and soul. I'll be planning for the 2021 new year.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you.
This week, some of my group members gave video presentations about grief support during the holidays. Click here to join the group and see these comforting tips.
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This month, YourCreativeChord Podcast will feature my conversation with guest, Dr. Tara Sanderson, a “Licensed Psychologist, Author, and Clinical Supervisor in Oregon.” The podcast will post in two episodes on March 17 and 31.
LISTEN to EPISODE 1 HERE.
Dr. Sanderson has been “helping people learn the skills to live their best lives” for more than 20 years. I read her new book, "Too Much, Not Enough A guide to decreasing anxiety and finding balance through intentional choices," and reviewed it earlier here.
I invited Dr. Sanderson to be a guest on my podcast because her experience as a counselor and someone who wrestles with perfectionism and anxiety, is perfectly in sync with nurturing creativity and inspiration.
The Dance Between Anxiety And Creative Flow
Getting or staying inspired sometimes comes with its own brand of anxieties for many creative people. I wanted to tap Dr. Sanderson's expertise on addressing this kind of negative self-talk.
We dove into the strategies she put forth in her book about decreasing anxiety. She shared a mindfulness tool she learned in a workshop, called SOBER:
S = Stop
O = Observe
B = Breathe
E = Examine the options
R = Respond
In our chat, Dr. Sanderson walked me through how to use each step of the SOBER tool. Our conversation is relevant for those who struggle with perfectionism, overachieving, anxiety, depression, and “the inner critic.”
E Is For Examine Options Versus Extreme Emotion
The step 'E' in SOBER particularly struck me as useful for those prone to anxiety or perfectionism. Examining the options within a particular scenario is a solid strategy for getting out of extreme, black-and-white thinking that is common for someone in an anxious state.
Dr. Sanderson demonstrated the use of initiating a dialogue with the 'inner critic.’ This inner voice, or self-talk, typically presents an extremely negative option.
Dr. Sanderson’s technique suggests brainstorming five different options versus the one negative option, opening the opportunity for making choices that feel better. Addressing this internal voice directly with alternate options instead of the one extreme reaction commonly offered by the ‘inner critic’ opens the mental space for calm, reason, and a better outcome.
3 Keys For Inspiring Bumperstickers
Dr. Sanderson's technique for handling a stressful choice is to follow the SOBER steps until you're able to respond in a way that's 'on purpose,' 'non-judgmental,' and 'fully present.' I joked that each of these slogans would make great posters or bumperstickers!
Seriously, can you imagine being stuck in constant traffic. You pull up behind a car, fuming frustration at the waste of time to get from point A to point B. Suddenly you see the bumpersticker in front of you, “Fully Present.”
Wow, what a difference that could make on blood pressure, mood, and productive energy! But, I digress…
It struck me that Dr. Sanderson’s approach with these three key points in mind when addressing a challenge is in dramatic yet calming contrast to the knee-jerk extreme emotional reactions we tend to roll with when anxious about something.
Our discussion of the mindfulness tools Dr. Sanderson uses both with herself and within her work as a counselor offers tremendous value for those eager to become less stressed.
Walk-Through For Self-Publishing Your Book
I also asked Dr. Sanderson to walk through her process for writing her new book on decreasing anxiety. She shared from idea conception, writing practice, to promotion, publishing and launching her book.
As I'm writing several nonfiction books under the 'nurturing creativity and inspiration' umbrella, to self-publish those soon on Amazon (and build courses based on them), it was fun to hear how Dr. Sanderson worked through her first book publishing process.
She also shared her process for creating an audio version of her book (which is available on Audible), and a second book to be co-written with her husband is in progress.
In this digital age, the options to publish a book are vastly different from the era of traditional publishing. Dr. Sanderson and I talked about the different ways writers could potentially get their story out or offer value through a book.
Whether you're an author, aspiring writer, or a reader who appreciates good books, this part of our chat illuminates the self-publishing and creative process for writing a book.
LISTEN to EPISODE 1 HERE.
Tune in Tuesday, March 31 for Part 2 of 2 episodes of YourCreativeChord Podcast to hear my in-depth conversation with Dr. Tara Sanderson.
Please let me know in the comments which parts of this blog resonates most with you. Share your thoughts or ask a question! I'd love to hear from you about these intriguing topics, or any tips you'd like to share!
Read my blog reviewing Dr. Tara Sanderson's book here:
How To Decrease Your Anxiety & Live More Mindfully; An Empathetic Perfectionist Helps You Balance Your Life
Checkout Dr. Tara Sanderson's new book, "Too Much, Not Enough A guide to decreasing anxiety and finding balance through intentional choices."
Find Dr. Tara Sanderson on Twitter Instagram Facebook and through her website, https://www.drtarasanderson.com
Even When We're Derailed
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
As a new online course creator, blogger and podcaster finishing two short nonfiction ebooks for piano learners, while caregiving for my 80-year Mom, I'm learning to juggle a lot.
Most of it's new to me.
My journey as a creator is a struggle to overcome life-long patterns of anxiety, challenge the new, balance my family responsibilities, and keep my creative fires burning.
Can you relate?
My goal is to launch my first online course for new or returning piano learners on how to practice piano effectively in April 2020. I've announced this goal originally for January and February—and missed my target dates. Wish you could see my face.
I'm disappointed in myself for that.
I didn't want to share that with anyone, either.
Why Sharing Our Vulnerability And Failures Is Important
But I decided this is actually a great lesson for practicing authenticity and developing self-compassion.
By being honest and transparent here, I'm showing myself and you how important it is that we share our vulnerability, our seeming failures—and still keep going no matter what.
The truth is we're all human. We all experience failures and setbacks. Hiding those away is antithetical to creative living. It's also counter to the reality that success often comes directly from failure.
Holding myself accountable publicly is a way to show myself that I can get back up on the horse. Even if I've fallen into the slop, and am covered in it, I can still get back up and try again.
There's a short video flying around social media of a little girl trying to mount a pony. The video shows her jumping up, falling down, grasping the pony's mane, slipping off, lunging forward, in multiple attempts to get on that pony. Over and over again, she fails.
It's remarkable to watch this child's attitude. She doesn't waver once. She just keeps trying. And she finally succeeds. Wow, the look on her face when she makes that glorious break-through is a monumental statement for having the never-give-up attitude!
Plans In The Works For Nurturing Creativity And Inspiration
I muster that little girl in myself to refresh my resolve. I'm determined to have my first online course and books for new and returning piano learners all rolling by early spring.
I'm also planning a course offering how to use nature and self-care based on spiritual optimism for overcoming blocks, and nurturing creativity and inspiration with a variety of activities.
I have another course on overcoming that negative inner critic planned next. And still another course about nontraditional memorial planning.
I also have an idea percolating about creating a community for those interested in nurturing creativity and inspiration, but that's after my products, books and courses are established...
I'm now editing podcasts featuring interviews with wonderful artists of all kinds. Those are phenomenal sources of inspiration, as these wonderful creators share their creative practices and personal stories.
I've designed some beautiful new products, featuring nature immersion and self-care affirmations! From notecards, journals, posters, pillows, puzzles, playing cards, coffee and tea mugs, T-shirts, kitchen and bath towels, these products are a splash of nature's energy with inspirational messages. I think you'll love everything! (See photo and video on this page for a sneak peak of a few notecards.) Click here to explore my new products designed for nurturing creativity and inspiration!
Creativity Integrates Many Moving Parts
The balance between my creative output while learning and doing the technical and administrative parts of launching my online business as a new creativepreneur is an ongoing, steep climb.
Some days I want to hurl my computer out the window!
But I'm getting better at it!
All my upcoming products, books and courses are completely in sync with how I roll as a creator and in line with how YourCreativeChord harmonizes many moving parts. Like an ocean contains many kinds of waves. Peaceful, subtle, flowing, roaring, crashing, stormy. It’s all part of the same beautiful ocean.
I juggle multiple ideas and skills constantly. I think this is how most people function. But sometimes we forget how varied our creative outlets may be! We also forget how these diverse interests and skills function to replenish our creative juices!
You may have noticed my focus is on piano right now. That's because my current priorities are to get my course and both books for piano learners on Amazon.
I want to empower those interested in expanding their creative flow through piano playing! I have so much piano experience, I can help many people embark on a joyful journey of piano progress!
Once that's underway, I'll be tackling the other courses, with books, and of course, regular blogs and podcasts, too.
ACHIEVING VICTORY OVER--SCRATCH THAT--BECAUSE OF OBSTACLES
You'll always get new content each Tuesday (and sometimes Thursdays). I've spent this year getting weekly blogs and podcasts to you while building systems to launch my upcoming products, books and courses.
I'm packing in as much value for you as possible, whether it's a blog, podcast, a short video, my upcoming new books, products or course!
I'm sharing this with you because everything I do as a blogger, composer, writer, poet, visual designer, nature photographer, creator-with-a-capital-C embodies what YourCreativeChord offers:
My mission as an artist is to lead, by example, through my creative strategies, achieving victory over obstacles and fulfilling my life's greatest potential.
Even if I get derailed, or slowed down, by life's difficulties, or tackling new stuff as an entrepreneur, I will never give up. I will deepen my determination to show victory as an artist for peace.
That’s what creativity is about:
I recently listened to the audiobook, The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday. It was perfect timing for me to recognize that a new challenge, problem or obstacle is not just something to "overcome."
Rather, I learned through this wonderful book that it is precisely because of difficulties that I'm able to tap capability, ingenuity, determination, resilience and wisdom that would otherwise lie dormant. The obstacles we each face become the way to greater creative flow, stronger conviction, and more committed action!
EXPANDING COMMUNITY & COLLABORATION
By the way, I've just updated my website HOME and ABOUT pages with a call-to-action for any bloggers or podcasters to interview me or collaborate. If you know of anyone interested in creativity, piano, personal development, wellness, or caregiving, please share this with them!
I'm on a mission to expand my community and collaborate with more creative and inspirational people!
You can definitely support me by sharing this with your social media or forwarding to a friend by email!
Thanks for keeping me accountable!
Join the conversation by sharing a comment with me below, or connect with me on social media using the icons below! ^_^
COMING SOON: Watch this space for new ebooks, products and courses for nurturing creativity and inspiration!
In my INSPIRATION blogs, you’ll find ways to overcome obstacles, reach goals, and experience more joy in the moment with spiritual awareness and inner transformation.